General Order 18.8A: Nine Months Later
It has been more than nine months since General Order 18.8A went into effect in Cook County, directing judges to set money bonds only in amounts that people can afford to pay. Since then, the number of money bonds has decreased by about half, and twice as many people are being released from Central Bond Court without first having to pay money.
Of the people still being required to pay money to secure their freedom, however, a large number are still receiving bonds that they cannot afford to pay. Data from the Office of the Chief Judge shows that just over half of the people given money bonds in January through March 2018 were eventually able to pay them. People who cannot afford to pay money bonds are incarcerated pretrial in Cook County Jail, and there are still approximately 2,500 people in Cook County Jail today for the simple reason that they lack the money to secure their release. Money bonds are also racist, since Black folks are the least likely to be able to pay money bonds.